Iowa State chemical engineering’s George Burnet celebrates 90th

George Burnet 90th_021014
George Burnet, Anson Marston distinguished professor emeritus, displays glimpses Feb. 3 of his 70-plus years with Iowa State chemical engineering.

Colleagues, family and friends joined Anson Marston Distinguished Professor Emeritus George Burnet Feb. 3 in Sweeney Hall to celebrate his 90th birthday. A native Iowan, Burnet was born on Jan. 30, 1924, in Fort Dodge. He has had a long and illustrious career and has been a major figure in chemical engineering at Iowa State University.

Burnet started his Iowa State career as an undergraduate in 1942. Although his studies were put on hold as he joined U.S. Army forces in the South Pacific Theater of World War II, he returned to Ames to earn his B.S. in chemical engineering in 1948. These were followed by M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Iowa State in 1949 and 1951, also in chemical engineering.

Burnet’s professional career began in 1951 at Commercial Solvents Corp. in Terre Haute, Ind., where he worked for five years. He then returned to Ames to join the chemical engineering faculty in 1956. For the next 39 years, Burnet served on the faculty at Iowa State and advocated for research and education in chemical engineering. He held various leadership posts, including national president of the American Society for Engineering Education from 1976-1977, interim dean of the Iowa State University College of Engineering, and department head of Iowa State chemical engineering from 1961-1978. He retired as Anson Marston distinguished professor emeritus in 1995.

Burnet has long been a supporter of Iowa State University. Most recently, Burnet played a key role in helping to organize the Department of Chemical and Biological Engineering (CBE) Centennial Celebration. On Sept. 27, 2013, he was inducted to the CBE Alumni Hall of Fame Inaugural Class. He also co-authored the centennial’s signature publication, “The First 100 Years of Chemical Engineering at Iowa State University,” capturing moments that define Iowa State chemical engineering.

Burnet now lives in Ames. Although officially retired, he maintains an active presence in Sweeney Hall and occasionally advises on department affairs. He is a lifetime member of the Iowa State University Alumni Association and a member of the Iowa State University Foundation W. M. Beardshear Society.

3 thoughts on “Iowa State chemical engineering’s George Burnet celebrates 90th

  1. Hello George…remember our bus rides from Ft Dodge down to ISC in 1942?…
    I’m eleven months older than you, and I stayed on when you went off to war.
    Got my BSChE in 1944.
    Hope you enjoyed your bd cake…
    I just now stopped playing tennis, due those old legs will not function well enough.
    I live next to the biggest park within a city here in San Diego, so out there 2xdsily..
    Carry on! Vern

  2. Dear Dr. Burnet,
    So sorry to be late wishing you a very Happy Birthday. I also regret greatly that I missed the Centennial Event at the Chem & Bio Engineering Dept.
    It sounds like it was a very great event and I am sure enjoyed by many, including some of my classmates. Also regret having to miss the event at the Alumni Center.
    I always have been so thankful that I had you as a real teacher and mentor to me over the years. I have so much respect for you, you have helped and inspired so many of us that had the good fortune of knowing you.
    I look forward to seeing you when we return to Iowa this Spring. I think I told you, I have a grandson now enrolled at ISU in the Chem & Bio Engineering program. He is Andrew Northrup and a very intelligent young man that I am very proud of.
    With Warm Personal Regards,

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